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How Painting at an Easel Builds Stamina in Young Children

September 27, 2021 | Clara Buckley

Many children notice the easel and paint and brushes at the open house before school begins and are curious and eagerly anticipate their use. Last week we opened the easel for painting.

Our art is inspired by the Creation stories we hear in worship. We start more abstract; light, clouds, seas. This allows us to focus on learning safe and appropriate use and care of art materials and tools, and exploring color, line, shape, and space.

As we continue through the story of Creation and the children master the process skills, our art moves to be more representational; plants, animals, people.

During planning meetings new tools and materials are introduced to spark interest for the day’s work. (a new paint color, jars of water for cleaning brushes, the sponge for drying, the detail brush)

While drawing focuses primarily on fine-motor skills, tempera paint activities at the easel engage the gross-motor coordination of the full arm and core as children create art. Stamina and strength are developed along with expressive skills. 

Conversations and collaborations extend the social learning of this area. “Who wants to see my unicorn?” “It looks like a monster!”

You could ask your child if they remember these sayings we use to help remember the routines at paint:

Dip the tip and wipe the drip.

Swish, swish, swish, slide it up the side.


Clara Buckley

Preschool Art Specialist; Middle School Art

Clara Buckley’s teaching spans the ages of Mustard Seed School, from the youngest students in the preschool to students in the graduating class. She’s found many similarities between teaching three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds!

As an art teacher who never enjoyed drawing, Ms Buckley’s hope is that each child she teaches discovers a way to create art that they enjoy, whether it be sculpture, printing, textiles, architectural drawing, or collage.

Ms. Buckley loves living in Jersey City, a place whose diversity and welcome for immigrants reflects her own family experience. When planning future travel destinations, art, food, and time with family are featured items on her list.

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